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Proposed smaller Port Moody fire hall not big enough to do the job: union

The Editor, Re. "Scaled-down PoMo fire hall expected to be approved" (The Tri-City News, June 24).

The Editor,

Re. "Scaled-down PoMo fire hall expected to be approved" (The Tri-City News, June 24).

I would like to set the record straight about firefighters' reasons for opposing the newly proposed Newport Drive and Knowle Street location for a new Port Moody fire hall.

We fear the new location won't be big enough to accommodate a fire hall for a number of reasons, including inadequate training space, inability for the city to concentrate fire department resources, inability to accommodate future growth, inadequate parking for staff during emergencies and inability to serve as an equipment usage or storage site during large-scale emergencies. The new fire hall should also be able to accommodate separate gender-specific facilities as may be required.

Coun. Karen Rockwell's assertions that we oppose the new location because of reduced leisure space is incorrect and - if I may reverse the charge - disingenuous. My comments are based on 20 years in the fire service and a cut-and-paste proposal put forward by Coun. Rockwell and the task force, with comments that "we think it will fit" is the reason firefighters remain unconvinced the needs of the city will be met.

A properly resourced fire hall is an important element of public safety for a city and I would urge Coun. Rockwell to take this process seriously out of respect for the citizens of Port Moody and the firefighters who risk their health and safety to protect those citizens' lives and property.

We are pleased that after 10 years of discussion, the city is finally moving toward building a much-needed new fire hall. We're not opposed to looking at alternate locations to the Ioco Road site as long as we remain positioned to respond quickly to emergencies throughout the city and as long as the new site is large enough to accommodate all of the needs of a modern fire department now and into the future.

Rob Suzukovich, President, Port Moody Fire Fighters,IAFF Local 2399